I know you might ask, how can someone with diabetes eat pizza? Because it’s common knowledge that people with diabetes should avoid consuming certain foods and drinks, especially ones high in saturated fat, sugar like sodas, food with refined grains, and candy, which is true. Foods like this can affect diabetes negatively, but this doesn’t mean that, on occasion, you can’t enjoy fast food that would be termed as “unsafe” or “unhealthy.”
Regular pizza is still very unhealthy to consume as it is rich in calories, salt, and processed foods such as cheese and refined flour. But there are ways in which you can enjoy pizza, and it can be adjusted to fit into your diabetes diet.
Pizza and Diabetes
For people with type 2 diabetes, trying out pizza with unstable blood sugar levels can be very dangerous. Even though it can make for a delicious meal, an average slice of a 14″ regular crust of pizza has a carbohydrate count of 36; this number varies but with just a few slices, you can very easily go over a hundred grams of carbohydrates in just a single seating, and that isn’t going to good things for your blood sugar.
Another complex issue that comes with eating pizza is the presence of dietary fat and proteins; now, these do some good because they slow down the digestion of carbohydrates. Hence, the release of glucose into the bloodstream is slowed. Still, a complex insulin bolusing scheme could be required for people on insulin medication, and this is particularly hard to master.
Everyone likes to eat pizza, but for people with diabetes, especially if you love pizza, you don’t necessarily need to cut pizza out of your diet plan; moderation and special care have to be taken into consideration alongside a variety of factors that will be discussed in this article.
Best Pizza for keeping your blood sugar in check
A person with diabetes can occasionally eat pizza regardless of its nutritional value. Still, you are often advised to consume whole, nutrient-dense foods rich in fruits and vegetables and foods rich in proteins like fish, chicken, beans, and nuts.
Because pizza can be chock full of carbs, choosing what goes in and on the pizza crust is very important. To effectively manage diabetes, ingredients that have nutrient-dense carbs like fruits, nonstarchy vegetables, and whole grains like oat and buckwheat are highly recommended.
When you order pizza, here are a few tips for choosing one that is nutritious and keeps your blood sugars stable,
Ingredients to choose for your pizza crust
Whole grain crust is the best for upping your fiber intake when choosing your pizza, and these often come in whole wheat pizza. For example, pizzas that have almond and cauliflower crust are your best choices here. This is because they are a low-carb option compared to regular pizza crust, which will affect your blood sugar levels much less than white or whole wheat pizza crust.
For people with diabetes, it is important to be careful when choosing crusts with low carbs as some of these advertised could have higher fat levels than regular pizza.
In addition to this, healthy toppings you can have on your favorite slice of pizza are,
- Fibers: Sun-dried potatoes and grilled vegetables like peppers and olives.
- Proteins: Fresh mozzarella and fried chicken.
- Healthy fats: Olives and Pine nuts.
Ingredients to limit
Even though you can have one to two slices of pizza with extra cheese or pepperoni, limiting some ingredients is best to make your pieces more diabetes-friendly.
Some ingredients that are recommended to limit are,
- Extra thick crusts and deep dish-style pizzas.
- Processed meats like sausage, ham, and bacon.
- Extra cheese toppings and cheese stuffed crusts.
- I have fried chicken and vegetables like fried eggplant.
- Creamy, high-calorie sauces like Alfredo sauce and ranch dressing.
Many fast food pizzas contain two or more ingredients, which can severely impact your blood sugar because of its increased carb content. So it’s important always to check the nutritional information when ordering your slice of pizza.
The size of your pizza slices is also worth considering, as sometimes some pizzerias may serve larger portions than other frozen pizza and chain restaurants. And these tend to contain a lot more calories than regular-sized pizzas.
Healthy tips for choosing Pizza
Managing diabetes as a pizza lover can be quite challenging, but no one says you can’t enjoy your favorite cheesy food. All it takes are the following tips to help you integrate it into your diabetes diet.
Let go out of that guilt
One thing you have to understand is that it is okay to eat pizza. It is okay to enjoy the occasional slice of pizza. Starving yourself of your favorite food will only make you crave it over time. So, you can enjoy the OCCASIONAL piece without feeling like it will affect your diabetes or disrupt your diet.
Accompany your pizza with healthy sides
Having your pizza with a large salad and a protein source like lean meat or grilled chicken is one way to balance out your meals, take care of your nutrient needs and make your meal a lot more filling.
Try making your pizza
Making your pizza allows you to control what goes into it and could also be a new and fun experience. Try adding some of the fresh ingredients previously listed to get the best out of it.
Try Nutrient filled toppings when making your order
Nutrient-filled toppings especially high in fiber and healthy proteins, like mushrooms and spinach, are great for you. You could also try spicing up your meal with a protein source like a grilled chicken.
Take note of portion sizes
When ordering, be sure to take note of the slice sizes available. And you could opt for a thin crust pizza with fewer calories, low fat, and carbs.
When you break it down into its simplest ingredients, you realize that it’s just flour, oil, cheese, marinara, and sometimes, tomato sauce. This is nothing for someone with diabetes to fear because if you stick to a balanced diet and nutrition, you can always enjoy your favorite foods from time to time without having to worry about a blood sugar spike because the overall quality of your diet is more important than one meal.